US 3420252 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
c. H. STROBLE 3,420,252
WINTERIZING SYSTEM FOR CAR WASH AND THE LIKE Jan. 7, 1969 Filed March 29, 1966 all-Ii Llllillyfllllll fl III I INVENTOR 0 4245. 5/7205 ATTORNEYS.
United States Patent Ofilice 3,420,252 Patented Jan. 7, 1969 9 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A system for Winterizing a self-service car wash which includes a primary liquid supply and a secondary liquid supply arranged so that the primary liquid supply is used in the car washing operation. When cars are not being washed and the ambient temperature is generally above freezing, the secondary liquid supply is cut off. When the temperature drops below a pre-selected level, usually freezing, the secondary liquid supply passes heated liquid to the hose means which direct the liquid for the car Washing operation, thereby preventing a freezing condition in the hose means and the lines connecting them with other portions of the system. When cars are being washed, the liquid is supplied from the primary supply means through pump means which deliver the same at a high pressure, the high pressure automatically activating flow control means to prevent back flow into the secondary liquid supply. In one embodiment the flow circuit means between the secondary liquid supply and the hose means includes a portion immersed within the primary liquid supply in heat exchange relationship. In another embodiment the heated water passing through the hose means is collected in a collection tank and passed to an auxiliary tank from which it can be recycled.
This invention relates generally to liquid distribution systems and in particular it relates to an arrangement for Winterizing a liquid distribution system such as is present in a self-service type of car wash.
Recently, self-service type car washes have become quite popular and their use has become wide-spread. Such car washes are generally of the coin-operated type wherein the user inserts the appropriate amount of coins and is supplied with a quantity of wash water which lasts for a preselected interval and is thereafter supplied with a quantity of rinse water which lasts for a preselected interval. Generally, in systems of this type, most of the car wash system equipment is housed within a building, and only the washing hoses are accessible to the customer. Thus, it is usual for the customer to locate his car adjacent the building housing the car wash equipment, to thereafter insert the appropriate amount of coins in a coin-slot, and to then take one of the hoses projecting beyond the building and to use the same for washing his car.
Naturally, in such self-service car washes, the water is delivered through the hose means by a pump or pumps, which customarily operate responsively to insertion of the appropriate amount of coins. Thus, once coins are inserted into a particular slot, a particular pump will operate for a short interval of time to deliver water under pressure through a particular hose means. However, at all other times when no coins have been inserted into the slot, the pump will remain inoperative and no water under pressure will normally be delivered through the hose means.
In car wash systems of this type, a particular problem has arisen in attempting to properly winterize the system. That is, it is necessary to make certain that the water does not freeze within the hose means even when the temperature drops below freezing. Since, as aforementioned, the hose means associated with such car Washes are generally located outside of a building while the remainder of the equipment forming the car wash is housed within the building, it has been found that there is a tendency for water trapped within the hose lines to freeze therewithin. Naturally, if this occurs, each of the hoses must be properly thawed to remove any ice therefrom before the system can properly operate to permit the pumps to deliver high pressure water through the hoses.
The only known prior art techniques for Winterizing a car wash system of this type accomplished such winterization by draining each of the hoses themselves, so that no water remained therein to freeze if the temperature dropped too low. However, in practice, most of such selfservice car washes are unattended for long periods of time, and it is only on periodic intervals, such as early morning and late evening, that an operator arrives to check the car wash system. In using the aforementioned prior art technique, an operator would arrive each evening and would manually drain each of the hose means until all water was exited therefrom. However, to assure that the system would remain properly winterized overnight, it was then necessary to entirely de-activate the car Wash so that no customer could come in that evening and operate the car wash, thereby again filling one of the hoses with water. Of course, this was extremely disadvantageous since it effectively took the car wash system out of operation for an extended period of time from one evening until the following morning. Also, such a prior art proposal did not recognize the fact that many times during the day itself, particularly in the wintertime, one or more of the hoses at a car wash might go unused for a period of several hours. In such event, the water in that hose would freeze thereby creating the difficulties discussed hereinabove. Finally, it will be recognized that it was a cumbersome manipulative job to carefully drain each of the hoses at a car wash, and such job took a certain amount of time, thereby limiting the number of different car wash stations that one attendant could properly service.
With the foregoing explanation in mind, it is, therefore, an object of the present invention to overcome the difliculties and deficiencies associated with the prior art and to provide in their stead, a new and improved system for Winterizing a car wash.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved arrangement for Winterizing a car wash system to prevent freezing in any portion of the system, regardless of the ambient temperature.
Anothe robject of the present invention is to provide a Winterizing system for a car wash, wherein such system automatically operates when the temperature drops to a preselected level, and which does not require the presence of an attendant to manually winterize the system.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a car wash Winterizing system which is relatively simple in construction and is inexpensive to produce and install, yet which will operate efiiciently and economically to prevent freezing in any portion of the system and resultant damage to the system.
Other objects, advantages and salient features of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, which, taken in conjunction with the annexed drawing, discloses a preferred embodiment thereof.
The foregoing objects are attained generally by providing a secondary liquid or water supply and a flow circuit means communicating the secondary liquid supply through the pumps and to the hose means. A flow control means is provided within the flow circuit to prevent. the secondary liquid supply from communicating with the hose means so long as the ambient temperature exceeds a preselected level, such as the freezing temperature or slightly thereabove. Temperature responsive means including a temperature sensing element to sense the outside ambient temperature are provided in controlled coupling with the flow control means. Thus, when the ambient temperature drops below the preselected level, the temperature responsive means opens the flow control means or valve to permit water from the secondary supply to flow to and through the hose means. As long as there is a continual flow through the hose means, the water therein will be prevented from freezing. Also, it is comprehended by the present invention that the water delivered from the secondary supply means can be heated on its way to the hose means, so that warm water is flowed through the hose means to prevent freezing even at very low temperatures. Since the flow circuit means communicates with the hose means through at least a portion of the pumps, a check control means, such as a one way check valve, must be provided in the flow circuit means. Such check control means prevents the high pressure water delivered by pump operating from backflowing through the flow circuit means to the secondary supply. However, when the pumps are not operating, the water supply from the secondary supply will open the check valves to permit flow to the hose means.
Although the present invention is described particularly in connection with, and is intended particularly for use in, a car wash system, and particularly a self-service type car wash, it should be understood that the principles of the present invention and the novel arrangement described hereinafter can be utilized with equal efiicacy in Winterizing any other form of liquid distribution system which has a tendency to freeze during cold weather.
Referring now to the drawing, the sole figure thereof is a diagrammatic perspective view of an improved winterizing system in accordance with the principles of the present invention.
Referring with greater particularity to the drawing, there is shown therein a system which includes a tank means generally designated adapted to contain a primary liquid supply, a pump means generally designated 12 operative to deliver liquid from the primary supply under high pressure to and through a hose means generally designated 14, a secondary liquid supply means generally designated 16, a flow circuit means generally designated 18 communicably coupling the secondary liquid supply means 16 with the hose means 14, a flow control means generally designated 24} within the flow circuit means 18 and a temperature responsive means generally designated 22 controllably coupled with the flow control means 20.
The tank means 10 is primarily provided by a container 24 having a partially or completely open top, such container having a primary supply of liquid 26 therein, such as water or the like. Preferably, the water 26 is heated by any suitable means, not illustrated, and such liquid is intended to provide the rinse water for the car wash system. In addition to the tank means 10, which customarily forms the rinse tank of a car wash system, it is customary to provide another similar type of tank means for containing the detergent or wash water for the car wash system, but since this wash tank does not form a part of the present invention, as such, the same is not illustrated in the drawing.
The pump means 12 includes one or more high pressure fluid delivery pumps 28, each having a lower end 30 immersed within the primary liquid supply 26. When operated, the pumps 28 deliver the liquid 26 under high pressure, approximately 600 lbs. per square inch, to and through the hose means 14.
As can be seen, the hose means 14 is an elongated flexible conduit 32, preferably formed of rubber, plastic or the like, such conduit having an inner end 34 coupled to the output of the pump 28 and an outer end 36 through which the liquid is dispensed.
As was mentioned previously, it is customary in car wash systems of this type to provide most of the equipment within a building or other housing. Thus, the tank means 10 is shown resting on the floor 38 of a building of suitable sort, such building having a side wall 40. The hose means 14 extends from the pumps 28 and through the side wall 40 so that the outlet end 36 on the hose means is disposed outside the building. Also, as shown, a considerable length of the flow conduit 32 is disposed outside the building, since it is this length of hose which the customer will use in washing his car. Suitable support means, such as hooks 42, may be provided outside the building, so that the hose means 14 can be hung thereupon when not being used by the customer.
The secondary liquid supply 16 of the present invention is customarily provided by the city waterline 44. Water generally flows through this line under a low pressure of approximately 12 lbs. per square inch, thereby providing a source of water for the entire car wash system.
The flow circuit means 18 communicably couples the city waterline 44 with the hose means 14. As shown, the flow circuit means 18 includes a conduit 46 which branches from the city waterline 44 and converts into a coil portion 48 disposed within the tank means 10' beneath the level of the liquid 26 therewithin. From the coil portion 48, the flow circuit means extends through a conduit portion 50 to a manifold 52 having a series of legs 54, one connected from the manifold to each of the pumps 28. A manually operated valve 56 is provided in the conduit 46 of the flow circuit means, whereby, if desired, the entire fiow of water from the city waterline 44 can be closed off. Also, if necessary, a pressure reducer valve 58 can be provided in the line 46. Finally, needle valves 60 can be provided in each of the manifold legs 54 to control individual flow to each of the hose means 14.
As aforementioned, the flow circuit means 18 also includes a flow control means 20, with such means being a flow valve or flow switch 62. The flow valve or switch 62 is normally closed, thereby preventing delivery of water from the secondary supply 16 thereof. However, to open the valve or switch 62, the temperature responsive means 22 is provided and such means includes a temperature sensing element or mechanism 64 located at least partially outside the building Wall 40. As such, the element 64 is capable of sensing the ambient temperature at the hose means 14, or at least at that portion thereof disposed outside the building wall 40. The sensing element 64 is controllably coupled with the switch 62 by a line 66 and the overall combination of the parts 62, 64 and 66 serves to provide, in effect, a thermostatically controlled valve means. That is, so long as the ambient temperature exceeds a preselected level, such as, for example, 33 F., the valve or switch 62 will remain closed thereby preventing the secondary water supply 16 from communicating with the hose means 14. However, when the temperature drops below the preselected level, as sensed by the element 64,
, the valve or switch 62 is opened, thereby permitting flow from the secondary supply 16 through the flow circuit means 18 and to the hose means 14.
In order to prevent system backflow, check control means 68 are provided in each of the manifold legs 54. Such check control means 68 can be a check valve of any suitable variety which is seated or closed by the high pressure fluid from the pumps 28. In other words, when the pumps 28 operate to deliver the liquid 26 under high pressure, a portion of such liquid will start to pass through that portion of the manifold leg 54 which is coupled to the pump 28. However, as soon as such high pressure liquid reaches the check valve 68, it seats the same thereby preventing such high pressure liquid from flowing through the legs 54, manifold 52, conduit 50 and so on, back through the flow circuit means 18. On the other hand, when the pump 28 is not operating, the check valve 68 can be unseated by low pressure liquid being delivered from the secondary supply 16 thereof. Thus, secondary liquid being supplied through the flow circuit means 18 to pass through the manifold legs 54 will serve to open the check valve means 68, thereby permitting the flow to pass through the upper portion of the pumps 28 and through the hose means 14.
In operation of that portion of the system described so far, it will be understood that the manual valve 56 is normally open and that the temperature responsive means 22 is of the type which can be adjusted or set to any particular desired temperature level. Accordingly, the car wash attendant normally presets the means 22 to the temperature desired, which usually is some temperature slightly above freezing, opens the valve 56, and adjusts the needle valves 60 to achieve the proper flow rate through the hose means 14. So long as the temperature remains above the level preset on the means 22, the flow control means prevents any secondary liquid from flowing through the flow circuit means 18. Therefore, when an operator desires to use the system, he inserts the proper amount of coins into a coin-controlled unit, not shown herein, which unit is linked with a particular pump 28. The pump 28 will thereupon operate for a timed interval to deliver water 26 under high pressure through the hose or flow conduit 32 associated therewith. The customer removes the hose from its supporting means 42 and directs the water flow coming through the outlet end 36 of the flow conduit means onto his automobile to rinse the same. During the time that the pump 28 is operating, the check valve means 68 prevents any backfiow of the high pressure water to the manifold 52.
At the time that the ambient temperature drops below the preselected level, as set on the means 22, such means operates through the line 66 to open the valve or switch 62 thereby permitting secondary water from the city waterline 44 to flow through the flow circuit means 18. Such water is delivered under low pressure of approximately 12 lbs. per square inch, and is passed through the conduit 46 and the coil 48. Since the coil 48 is immersed within the primary water supply 26, and since, as aforesaid, such primary water sup ly is customarily heated, the effect of the secondary water passing through the coil is that such secondary water is warmed or heated. The heated secondary water then passes through the conduit 50, into the manifold 52, and through the manifold legs 54 to pass through the upper portion of the pumps 28 and to flow through each of the hose means 14. Naturally, the flow of such heated secondary water through the hose means or flow conduits 32 prevents any freezing therewithin, regardless of the ambient temperature surrounding such hose means. Now, even if a customer wants to operate the system, he can do so regardless of the fact that secondary water is being supplied. That is, if one particular pump 28 is operated, operation of that pump will close the check valve 68 associated therewith and will thus terminate delivery of the secondary water supply to that particular fiow conduit 32. However, the secondary water will still be supplied through all of the other manifold legs and will thus be delivered to all of the other flow conduits 32. As soon as the one pump 28 terminates operation, secondary water will again be supplied to the flow conduit 32 associated with that pump. Thus, regardless of whether the system is operated or not, secondary water will nevertheless be supplied in a heated manner and at a constant flow to and through each of the flow conduits 32 at all times except when a particular pump is operating. This flow of heated water under pressure through the flow conduits 32 will prevent any freezing therewithin.
As an ancillary portion of the inventive system disclosed hereinabove, a collection tank or trough 70 is provided outside the building wall 40. Such tank or trough has a series of openings 72 in the top thereof to receive the ends 36 of the hose means when the same are not in use. In other words, when a customer completes use of a particular hose means, he re-hangs the same upon a hook 42 so that the end 36 of the hose is inserted within an opening 72 of the collection trough 70. In fact, if desired, suitable biasing means may be provided in lieu of the hooks 42 so that when the customer ceases use of a particular hose, the same will automatically be raised to the position shown in the drawings, with the end 36 being disposed within or above an opening 72 in the collection trough 7 0.
A first conduit means or return line 74 extends from the collection trough 70 to empty into an auxiliary tank means 76. Preferably, the line 74 is inclined so that return flow from the collection trough to the auxiliary tank 76 can be gravitational flow. It will thus be apparent that the secondary water supply which flows through the hose means 14 can be recollected in the collection trough 70 and can be returned through the return line 74 to the auxiliary tank means 76. The auxiliary tank means thus has a supply of water 78 therewithin which can be used as the secondary liquid supply 16, in a manner to be disclosed hereinafter.
A sump pump 80 is associated with the auxiliary tank means 76 and is connected by a flow conduit 82 to the conduit 46 of the flow circuit means 18. A manually operated valve 84 is provided in the conduit 82 and such valve is intended for operation in opposition to the manual valve 56. That is, if the manual valve 56 is opened, the secondary water supply is provided from the line 44 and the manual valve 84 must therefore be closed. On the other hand, if the manual valve 56 is closed, the secondary water supply is provided from the auxiliary tank means 76 and the manual valve 84 must therefore be opened. If desired, the valves 56 and 84 can be linked or geared together so that opening of one will automatically close the other. The temperature responsive means 22 is linked with the pump 80 as shown schematically by the line 86. A switch 88 is provided in the line and when such switch is closed, the temperature responsive means 22 will set the pump 80 into operation when the ambient temperature drops below the preselected level. In order to assure that the auxiliary tank 76 will always have a suitable supply of water 78, a conduit 90 can supply water thereto from the city waterline 44. A float control valve 92 is provided in the auxiliary tank 76 to permit fiow through the conduit 90 when the level of liquid 78 drops too low, but to prevent flow therethrough once the level of liquid 78 reaches a preset level. Naturally, operation of the system will be the same even if this auxiliary portion of the system is utilized. To set this auxiliary system into operation, the operator need only close the switch 88, close the valve 56 and open the valve 84. When this occurs, the liquid 78 will provide the secondary liquid supply 16.
After reading the foregoing detailed description, it should be apparent that the objects set forth at the outset of the specification have been successfully achieved by the present invention.
\Vhat is claimed isi 1. In a system particularly adapted for Winterizing a self-service car wash, the combination comprising:
tank means having a primary liquid supply therein;
pump means juxtaposed to said tank means and operative to deliver liquid under high pressure from said primary liquid supply;
hose means coupled with said pump means for directing the liquid delivered under high pressure from said primary liquid supply;
secondary liquid supply means;
flow circuit means communicably coupling said secondary liquid supply means with said hose means; flow control means within said flow circuit means to prevent communication between said secondary liquid supply and said hose means so long as the ambient temperature exceeds a preselected level; temperature responsive means controllably coupled with said flow control means to permit communication between said secondary liquid supply and said hose means when said ambient temperature drops below said preselected level, thereby causing liquid from said secondary supply to flow through said hose means to prevent freezing therewithin;
said flow circuit means including a portion immersed Within said primary liquid supply in heat exchange relationship.
2. The combination defined in claim 1 wherein said portion is formed as a coil.
3. The combination defined in claim 1 wherein said flow circuit means is coupled to said hose means at least partially through said pump means.
4. The combination defined in claim 3 further including check control means in said flow circuit to prevent backfiow from said primary liquid supply to said secondary liquid supply when said pump means operates to deliver liquid under high pressure.
5. The combination defined in claim 1 wherein said flow circuit means includes a manually adjustable regulating valve for varying the rate of flow from said secondary liquid supply to said hose means.
6. The combination defined in claim 1 further including collection tank means into which said hose means can be inserted to permit said collection tank to collect liquid flowing from said hose means.
7. In a system particularly adapted for Winterizing a self-service car wash, the combination comprising:
primary liquid supply means;
pump means juxtaposed to said primary liquid supply and operative to deliver liquid under high pressure from said primary liquid supply;
hose means coupled with said pump means for directing the liquid delivered under high pressure from said primary liquid supply;
secondary liquid supply means;
flow circuit means communicably coupling said secondary liquid supply means with said hose means;
flow control means Within said flow circuit means to prevent communication between said secondary liquid supply and said hose means so long as the ambient temperature exceeds a preselected level; and
temperature responsive means controllably coupled with said fiow control means to permit communication between said secondary liquid supply and said hose means when said ambient temperature drops below said preselected level, thereby causing liquid from said secondary supply to flow through said hose means to prevent freezing therewithin;
collection tank means into which said hose means can be inserted to permit said collection tank to collect liquid flowing from said hose means; an auxiliary tank means; first conduit means coupling said collection and auxiliary tank means to permit said collection tank means to empty into said auxiliary tank means; and
second conduit means coupling said auxiliary tank means with said fiow circuit means.
8. The combination defined in claim 7 wherein said flow circuit means and said second conduit means each includes a manually operable valve means upstream from the junction thereof, one of said valve means normally being open and the other of said valve means normally being closed.
9. The combination defined in claim 7 further including auxiliary pump means associated with said auxiliary tank means and selectively connectable means for controllably coupling said temperature responsive means with auxiliary pump means.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,346,191 10/1967 Roach 239 WILLIAM F. ODEA, Primary Examiner.
RICHARD GERARD, Assistant Examiner.
l37-ll2. 312. 340: 239135. 139. 304